Begin by asking students to mention their favorite book. Then ask students what makes that book their favorite. Are there interesting characters in the story? Is there a surprising twist? An important lesson in the story that resonates with them? After having a short discussion about these things, inform students that these are all things that make a good story, and that today they will be learning about story elements. Tell students that they will be read the classic tale of Hansel and Gretel, and that they should pay attention to the different story elements as the story is read to them.
-Read students the story of Hansel and Gretel either through the iStoryBooks app or website. After reading the story, write down “Story Elements” on the board, and tell students that you will be discussing the elements that make up any good story and in particular Hansel and Gretel.
-Ask students to think back to the things that make up a good story. Write on the board: Characters, Plot, Setting, Problem/Solution. Now, have students discuss these elements and what they mean. Characters are the people or animals that make up the story and perform actions in the story. The setting is where the story takes place, and there can be several settings within the same story. The plot is the basic summary of the story in a few short sentences. Finally, the problem/solution represents the conflict in the story and its subsequent resolution.
-Now discuss these elements in relation to Hansel and Gretel. Ask students to name the characters: Hansel, Gretel, their father, and the witch. Next discuss the setting, of which there are two: the woods and the witch’s house. Next discuss the problem/solution: Hansel and Gretel are captured by the witch, but then Gretel pushes the witch into the oven and they get away. Finally, discuss the plot. Have students take out a piece of paper and write out, in their own words, a short summary of what happens in the story.
For homework, have students think of their own story idea, and have them write out the different elements of their story. Who will their characters be? What will the setting of the story be? What problem will happen, and how will it be solved? Finally, what is the general plot of the story? The next day they can break up into small groups and share their story ideas with their groups.